What You Need to Know About Summer Rentals

Follow these guidelines to ensure a fun and relaxing trip.

A vacation home can be great for families and large groups. But know what you're signing up for. Here are five costs, policies and circumstances you should anticipate.

1. Beach? What beach? You went online and found a listing for a waterfront cottage that sounded perfect for a vacation getaway. But when you got there, the house wasn't anywhere near the water. Hundreds of Web sites now list rental properties, and, says Emily Glossbrenner, coauthor of How to Make Your Vacation Property Work for You!, there are "many instances" of such tall tales. Always book through a reputable site -- such as Vrbo.com or HomeAway.com -- that provides pictures, contact information and insights from past renters.

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